Reader Solves “Mystery of the Missing Trees”

In honor of Veterans Day ( November 11), your editors ask: When did the Memorial Trees on Memorial Drive disappear? They were planted May 4, 1923, and no longer grace what is now Veterans Drive.

This is a hard question, so the winner will win a standing ovation, in addition to more free readings of Grand Traverse Journal!

A much easier question is, where is this plaque located?

Thanks to reader K for her answer. Congratulations and a round of applause to her! She was able to identify where the trees once were, and why they were planted. Unfortunately, she cannot help us answer the question of when the trees disappeared. There are sugar maples of the proper age at the entrance to the Memorial Gardens Cemetery, but we cannot know if these were trees planted in the ceremony to honor the vets.

The plaque is located on the grounds of the American Legion Hall on Veterans Drive, in the shadow of the tank that guards the property.

“Veteran’s Drive was once M-11, a trunk line into Traverse City.

According to the April 25, 1923 newspaper, the ceremony to dedicate the 30 trees was near Garfield Township hall with the trees starting there and going north (downhill) until the south city limit. The article also notes “Complete records of the trees and those whose death they commemorate will be filed at the county clerk’s office and a temporary marker will be placed on each tree at the planting.

Forty-two maples were planted on Arbor Day (May 4) 1923. It was hoped this would be the “first of several in the county.” The report of the ceremony notes “permanent markers of marble or bronze will be placed at foot of each tree giving name and service record of each [honoree].” and the “Record of each tree is now at the court house to be preserved for generation after generation.” The list of names to be included on the Monument and tablet” erected Arbor Day 1924 appears in the March 14, 1924 TCRE.”

Thanks again, K, for your sleuthing!

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